Welcome back to our Shooting 101 series! So far we’ve covered the absolute basics of how to use revolversand semi-automatic pistols and now we’re moving on to the most popular rifle in America: the AR-15. Today we’re going to look at how to load, unload, and fire an AR-style rifle.
A ton of people have purchased ARs in the last 10 years or so, and a lot of these people are either first-time gun owners or brand new to the AR platform. If you fall into one of those categories, this post is for you. I can’t teach you how to be a great marksman in just a few minutes, and I don’t want anyone to think that a video or an article can take the place of real, in-person training from a qualified instructor. However, this should get you going in the right direction so you at least know how the gun works and how to handle it safely.
You can watch the rest of this tutorial in the video here, or scroll on down to read the transcript.
Rules for Safe Gun Handling
If you’re new to shooting, we really have to start out with a couple of basic guidelines for safety. And safe is a relative term. Anything we do with firearms is inherently dangerous. Every time you pick up a gun, you are making life and death decisions — that’s something you can’t ever forget. Fortunately, we can mitigate a lot of that risk by following the four basic rules of safe gun handling. There are different ways to phrase these rules, but here’s my summary:
- Treat all guns the same way you would treat a loaded gun.
You cannot ignore the other three rules just because you believe a gun is unloaded.
- Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
That means, if it were to fire, it’s not going to hurt anyone and it’s not going to damage anything you can’t afford to replace.
- Keep your finger away from the trigger until you are ready to shoot something.
Pretty straightforward, but that’s the one people seem to have the most trouble remembering.
- Know what it is you are shooting at and what is behind it.
That goes for the shooting range or anywhere else you might need to use your gun.
There’s a lot more to using a gun safely than just the four rules, but if you follow them, you greatly reduce your chance of unintentionally hurting yourself or someone else.
by Chris Baker